Our festive spend is ¤943 -- the highest in all Europe

WE many be keeping a tight rein on the purse strings but we Irish are no Scrooges when it comes to Christmas.

New figures show that we are back on top of the Christmas spending league after two years off the number one spot.

A price survey on spending shows that we spend an averge of €943 during the seasonal period, down on last year's splurge but back on top of the European league.

Most of the festive budget will go on gifts, with food and socialising also accounting for a big chunk of the spend.

The survey conducted for consultancy group Deloitte will be a welcome boost to hard-pressed retailers.

In 2010 and 2009, the people in Luxembourg were the biggest yuletide spenders.

But the Irish are back on top of the spending league.

In contrast, the Dutch do not get too excited about Santa, gifts and feasting with a Scrooge-like spend of just €260.

Of the €943 to be spent by each Irish household, some €520 will go on gifts.

Festive food, such as turkey and ham, will account for an average of €258 per household. And going out to parties and to the pub will cost €156.

The downturn means that each home reduced its spending by around €400 since 2008.

This year there will be almost 10pc less spent on presents, with cutbacks on food too.

Deloitte's Richard Howard said it was good news for retailers that people still intended to flash large amounts of cash.

"Through the last number of years, it has been clear that despite the fiscal pressures they face, the desire to embrace Christmas remains strong."